Dealing with a Few Bad Apples Problem Board Members

Reality television has made an industry out of putting people in challenging or high-stress situations, sitting back, and letting the “unscripted” drama play out. Shows like “The Apprentice” and “Survivor” drew weekly audiences of millions with heavy doses of intrigue, skullduggery, and backstabbing among contestants, who often seem to have been cast purely for their childish, petty, argumentative tendencies.

Impossible people might be fun to watch on television (where other people have to deal with them), but they’re far less amusing in person—especially if you’re serving on your building’s board with them. While most board members are hard-working, cooperative people, occasionally you’ll have a board member who makes the whole process extremely difficult. What then? After all, board members are volunteers—people who give up some of their free time to devote to the upkeep and responsibilities of the building. They each come with a personality and opinions. How can you deal with someone whose primary goal in life seems to be making you and your boards’ life miserable?

Portraits of Problems

“Serving ona board of directorsis a responsibilityand privilegethat must be undertaken and performed with the highest level of personal integrity and corporate accountability,” says Edward Andron, vice president and director of management at Leebar Management Corp. in Manhattan. “Each member of the board and each corporate officer must act with the best interests of the corporation as a goal.”

Each board member must also follow the building’s rules —the bylaws, the proprietary lease and the house rules. If there is an issue that arises that isn’t covered in these documents, it doesn’t mean that the board member can do what he or she chooses.

Take the board member that overuses their power, for example. Laura Ward, a former condo owner in Marietta, Georgia, says her association once had a board member that nit-picked everything and allowed absolutely no room for leeway.

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Comments

  • I am a homeowner at Bolero at Rancho Dey Rey, located in the city of Chula Vista, CA. This is a condo complex, and the management is N.N.Jaeschke, Inc., office located in San Diego. A lot of residents wonder why a member on the HOA board is allowed to exclusively (the same car is always parked there) park in the only handicapped space, up by our pool. Our CC&R's state for three bedroom condo, with a 2 car garage, there are no assigned spaces outside the garage. What gives this owner the right to park there? Does he have some exception from the city? There are many handicapped people in the complex. Our CC&R's do not specifically state what that handicapped space is used for. We live in a gated, private property. However, the city of Chula Vista is responsible for repairing and maintenance of the streets inside the complex. They actually own the streets inside our complex. I am handicapped, and sometimes I am in too much pain to walk up the hill to go into the hot tub, so I want to drive up and park in the only handicapped space which is located by the pool. I could get an M.D. Rx stating this, if I wanted too. Is there anything I can do legally? A board member is supposed to fulfill the needs of all residents, and not the special interests of a single individual. If not a legal matter, certainly a conflict of interest, morally wrong, and not ethical. And, the sentiment of residents is that they fear retaliation by this board member. Please help.